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With tickets sold out, Filipinos steal homecourt edge in Taipei (August 30, 2015)
Musong R. Castillo [ Source: Inquirer ]

Gilas Pilipinas captain Jimmy Alapag gets love from Filipino fans in Seville, Spain during the Philippines’ win over Senegal 2014 Fiba World Cup. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

TAIPEI – Just like any tournament Gilas Pilipinas plays in, tickets have been the perennial problem.

The Filipinos will be playing to a packed house in practically all of their games in the 37th Jones Cup here, with tickets featuring Gilas having been gobbled up by homesick Overseas Filipino Workers wanting a glimpse of home in whatever way.

Starting with the game against bitter rival Chinese Taipei-A on Sunday night, team manager Butch Antonio said that tickets have practically been sold out, guaranteeing that the Filipinos will have veritable homecourt edge every time.

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The last time Gilas Pilipinas and Chinese Taipei faced was back in the 2013 Fiba Asia Championship when the Filipinos lost despite holding a commanding lead. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

TAIPEI – Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin said that history will only matter to him if it will help his team become better.

On the eve of the Filipinos’ first game in the Jones Cup against bitter rival Chinese Taipei-A, Baldwin downplayed past records and asked everyone to keep their eye on the ball.

“Chinese Taipei doesn’t mean anything to me (in this tournament),” Baldwin said of the side that dealt the Filipinos one of its only two losses in finishing second to Iran in the Fiba-Asia Manila in 2013. “They will mean something (if we play them again) in the Fiba-Asia.”

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San Antonio Spurs’ Danny Green with JC Baltazar, who won the KFC Bucket 3-Point Shootout on Saturday in one of the side events in the 2015 NBA 3X at Mall of Asia Music Hall. Tristan Tamayo/

Danny Green expects nothing less from his new teammate LaMarcus Aldridge, who picked the San Antonio Spurs over a handful of other suitors during free agency this offseason.

“I expect him (Aldridge) to do what he does,” Green told reporters Saturday during the NBA 3X at Mall of Asia Arena Music Hall. “He’s an All Star.”

Aldridge, a four-time All-Star and three-time All-NBA team member with his former team the Portland Trail Blazers, was the most coveted free agent in the market and his addition makes the Spurs an automatic favorite to win the championship.

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Andray Blatche. FIBA

The Philippine national men’s basketball team takes on Chinese Taipei A to begin its grueling campaign in the 2015 William Jones Cup Sunday at the Xinchuang Gymnasium in New Taipei City, Taiwan.

Gilas Pilipinas plays the first of eight straight days of non-stop basketball action, starting against the hosts at 7 p.m. live on AksyonTV. There’s also a delayed telecast over TV5 at 9 p.m. (Check tournament schedule and updates here.)

The Filipinos are making a comeback in the tournament after a three-year absence. In their last participation in 2012, they copped the gold medal.

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Gilas 12 known after Jones Cup (August 30, 2015)
Nelson Beltran [ Source: Philippine Star ]

FIBA Asia Championships

TAIPEI – Gilas Pilipinas will be ready to name its Final 12 for the FIBA Asia Championship after its stint in the 2015 William Jones Cup International Basketball Tournament here.

After the Jones Cup, the Gilas pool had gone through a month-long training with a total of 11 games played, including three in a pocket tournament in Estonia.

“By the time we finish here, we want to have a very firm idea of who our 12 are,” said national coach Tab Baldwin.

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Canada announces FIBA Americas roster (August 30, 2015)
Josh Lewenberg [ Source: TSN ]

  Cory Joseph, D Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images

MEXICO CITY - With the start of the FIBA Americas Championship just days away, Team Canada has finally settled on the 12-man roster that will ultimately determine their Olympic fate over the coming weeks.

The senior men's national team announced its squad Saturday morning, making 22-year-old combo guard Olivier Hanlan the final cut, as many expected.

The Aylmer, Quebec native and former Boston College standout had been the odd man out in Puerto Rico, where the Canadians went 4-0 in their exhibition tournament this past week. Made expendable by the strong play of Phil Scrubb - the ex-Carleton Ravens and CIS star, who won the back-up point guard gig behind starter Cory Joseph - Hanlan was the team's only active player that did not log meaningful minutes over their final three games.

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Hard-luck Gilas ‘very determined’ to prove everybody wrong (August 30, 2015)
Musong R. Castillo [ Source: Inquirer ]

Gilas huddles at center court after practice. Tristan Tamayo/

TAIPEI – Gilas Pilipinas took another blow to the face on Saturday when Andray Blatche decided to go back to the United States to attend the funeral of his uncle, leaving the Filipinos without their pillar as they start their campaign in the Jones Cup on Sunday.

“He left this (Saturday) morning,” National coach Tab Baldwin said of Blatche, whom he practically ruled out in the nine-day event where the Filipinos, starting on Sunday against bitter rival Chinese Taipei-A, will be playing eight straight games.

Already without the most talented local big man in the PBA in June Mar Fajardo, who begged off because of injury, the Philippine Five has become even smaller with Blatche needing to attend to that serious family matter back home.

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William Jones Cup

A day before Gilas Pilipinas opened their Jones Cup campaign, assistant coach Josh Reyes took note of the environment the Philippine team practices in.

"So we practiced on this side gym with concrete flooring and leaky roof while the home team who we play tomorrow was in the main arena," said the son of former Gilas coach Chot Reyes via Instagram

The photo showed the team doing warmups on painted cemented flooring as the coaching staff looked on.

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Doubters continue to fuel Kenneth Faried’s motor (August 30, 2015)
Bong Lozada [ Source: Inquirer ]

Denver Nuggets power forward Kenneth Faried together with San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Danny Green filled up the Mall of Asia Music Hall as they grace the NBA 3X event. Tristan Tamayo/

Kenneth Faried has come along way since being drafted late in the first round by the Denver Nuggets four years ago.

He’s averaged close to a double-double and shot at least 50% from the field in each of his first four seasons with the Nuggets and has won a gold medal as one of the key contributors for Team USA in the 2014 Fiba World Cup in Spain.

Still, what makes Faried continue to reach for greater heights is the motivation to prove his doubters wrong even if it’s having to do it over and over again.

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Clarkson as late Gilas addition will pose issues, admits Baldwin (August 30, 2015)
Musong R. Castillo [ Source: Inquirer ]

Eligibility won’t be the only issue Jordan Clarkson will have to deal with if and when he joins Gilas Pilipinas. Tristan Tamayo/

TAIPEI – No matter how good Jordan Clarkson is, there will still be a downside if and when he does join Gilas Pilipinas for the Fiba Asia Championship next month.

“If he comes in at the last moment, he’ll present some issues,” national coach Tab Baldwin said Saturday here. “There won’t be a smooth transition into a team if you come in late.

“I don’t care how talented you are.”

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